Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kitchens: Before and After

So if you could remodel any one part of your home and really spruce it up, which part would you choose? I choose the kitchen. If I could I would make an entire house into a kitchen, fully functional with pull out beds for drawers. Some of the more incredible features include walk-in pantries with sliding storage shelves. Fantasies aside, I very much enjoy kitchens of all styles and sizes. Before and after pictures to me, are like greasy bacon strips to hunger-teased dingos. Have a taste:

**Uncontrollable Drooling**

Charcoal Granite Counter Tops, Bamboo flooring, Accent Lighting, Oh My!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas Eve! I just finished watching "It's a Wonderful Life" and never tire of watching it year after year. The film embodies so much that is good in this world. May the tradition of radiating the airwaves with this timeless classic each Christmas continue as long as the Earth turns. The family pageant tradition of the Nativity story has carried on though minus the costumes and wise men bling this year. Hurray for Family traditions.

So I found the worst movie EVER made. Yes, and watched the entire thing through because it was sooo bad. It's called "Hercules in New York" starring Arnold "the Govenator" Schwarzenegger and his lines are dubbed over by some English actor's voice. So there you have it; the best and worst movies of all time - unless you can suggest another pair of films so diametrically opposite in caliber?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Attack of the Artic Crystalline Flakes

I can't remember the last time I had death gripped my steering wheel. At lunch time I looked outside to see the snow falling at an increasing rate and thought it better to leave sooner than later. On the commute back home (~23 miles) I had many close encounters with the fourth kind: overly confident 4-wheel drive enthusiasts. At seat level in my car I have a VERY good view of their tire flaps. To make matters worse my wipers started to build up ice chunks underneath the blades, in effect smearing the windshield rather than clearing debris, leaving a small viewable window on the passenger side. At this point I thought to myself what on Earth are you [Dallin] doing? Get off the bloomin' road before you activate your medical plan! I was thrilled to finally inch my way up the home stretch and crash on the pillow and not the pedestrian walking her dog across the street. Needless to say I offered a most sincere prayer. The hour drive proved to be a real character builder; much like diarrhea.

Upstate NY is known for their white-out conditions and "lake effect" snow drifts responsible for entire weeks of unscheduled vacation. Binghamton is the 15th snowiest city in the country just south of the 4th being Syracuse. This is a picture I found from Oswego, NY - the undistputed snow capital (non-mountainous region) of the northeast:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Camp Outs and Symphonies

I had planned to go with the scouts from our ward on a camp out over the weekend but received word late that it was a no-go. Good thing since the temperature was in the single digits Fahrenheit. My first real winter camp out was with my older brothers up in the Rockies. Being the youngest I had inherited my brother's boots, having served faithfully, but now these buskins were a beat away from their final fermata. As the sun began to set I could feel my feet getting colder and colder. My oldest brother Rhys somehow knew I wasn't doing well and graciously removed my boots to rub my frozen feet and put on a nice warm pair of wool socks. I'm sure his hands were freezing but he was so focused on helping me. So when I remember boy scouts and camp outs I will always remember that simple act of kindness.

In other news I joined the musicians union in an effort to play Handel's Messiah this weekend. I can't wait to get back into an orchestra!! The money part isn't so bad either but if I had to, I would pay real money just to play. What an absolute thrill to be enveloped in the warmth of symphonic sound - Handel's Messiah nonetheless.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Conversation Power

Like an inconspicuous pixel in the sea of bytes chattering back and forth, the seeker of gab listens to the ongoing conversation in earnest but fails to awake the tongue from its hibernating sleep. The ability to contribute to meaningful conversation is a greatly sought talent. I admit I am not a great conversationalist but I would really like to know what does it take to become one? I am by nature an observant fellow but I do not believe I must be confined by nature. So, your thoughts?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday Mornings

Waking up and knowing you don't have to go into work because it's Saturday is blissful - unless by chance your neighbor pounds on your door at the crack of dawn because there is a strange "hot glue" odor emanating from the lower floors and that the firemen are in transit, on a frigidly cold morning. Well there's always next Saturday...

So what's there to do on a Saturday morning? Try Olympic pancake flipping! I made a thick pancake batter and while mixing the dry ingredients the thought came to me: "If you make it, it will flip." And so after pouring the batter into the saucer I began flipping my breakfast up and down, behind the back, quadruple flips in the air, half of which now decorates the floor. I even snapped a quick how-to clip:

Then I sat down in front of the laptop and began rehashing some sweet chords in Finale to the sound of a string orchestra. I really enjoy just sitting down at the piano and discovering chord progressions - even if they don't play by the "rules". This is what I came up with; have a listen:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Are you kidding me?!?

Welcome to DARPA, otherwise known as the Defense Agency Researching Projects on Acid. This government funded agency "Commissions advanced research for DoD, and was founded in response to the surprise Sputnik launch in 1958 and fathered the Internet somewhere along the way." These days DARPA sponsors scientific competitions to challenge the coolest nerds around to drive technical innovation so that one day you can wake up and drive your hover car to work like 'Back to the Future 2' promised us. The latest plan is making heads scratch and sending shares for Head & Shoulder soaring to their highest earnings yet. To put it simply, DARPA wants submarines that can fly (or airplanes that can go underwater - either way you look at it), with the end result being able to creep to shore without detection. If the idea ever does take off the ground (pun-tastic) and there exists some commercial need for this futuristic transport, then sign me up baby!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A La Pinta

Have you ever ran up to someone you thought you knew only to find out it was someone else? I had a guy run and jump onto the hood of my car the other day. Boy howdy! On another note I like making pies. Behold their majesty:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ode to Ornamentation

I was playing around with the fiddler's fakebook and found a neat Scottish ditty. I really like the time signature 6/8 (I think my heart beats to that rhythm). Take a listen:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Erhu Ecstacy

So for all those of you who have not heard I have a slight problem - I am a compulsive ebay buyer. Luckily I have high standards which protects me from tipping over the edge into the precipice of owning really dumb stuff. My latest investment is the Chinese Erhu. It's a two stringed instrument with a bow that plays between the strings. Take a listen:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My inflated two cents

Today I feel especially gregarious in dispensing my solutions to current global crises. **Warning, this content contains psychological nudity**

Problem: 18% rise in food allergies among children since 1997.
Proposed Solution: Milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and egg comestibles accounted for over 90% of the recorded allergic reactions. Studies too good for the intellectual community to include in their smarmy scientific publications convincingly point to a consistent diet of Chipotle burritos as a healthy alternative to "opaque white liquid produced by the mammary glands of female mammals," and other child allergens.

Problem: Sub Prime Mortgage Crisis
Proposed Solution: We need to build a time machine and send back Jim Cramer as the Investinator.

Problem: Flatulence
Proposed Solution: Activa Yogurt

Problem: Rising Costs of Healthcare
Proposed Solution: Two possible solutions. 1) Adopt a Universal Healthcare System or 2) Hire Nicholas Cage and the rest of the cast of National Treasure to scour the Earth in search of the Fountain of Youth.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If you can't fight it, eat it.

Once in a while a good thing comes along that begs mentioning. Behold the juicy, the saucy, the one and only Philly cheese stake sandwich. This pro-fat concoction debuted in the early 30's as a predecessor to modern comfort food around Philadelphia, PA - the city of brotherly love. This city icon is the main course, side, and dessert served in a hoagie bun topped with cheese. For anyone looking to find a cheaper substitute to formula weight gain powders then look no further.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Is your game on?

Have you ever done something that made you feel like the coolest kid on the block? I just joined a ping pong club and I'm wondering why I had to wait 26 years to do so. Hopefully with some regular practice and sneakers I'll fend off those wunderkids that beat the tar out of me the other week. Ping Pong (aka Table Tennis for all those purists) is a versatile game that opens itself to all kinds of contestants. Young and old alike can enjoy the game with an almost level playing field. What other sports out there can you get creamed by a granny or a kid in a wheelchair? Not many.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You have correo!

So Grandpa Christensen wrote me back a letter in which he told me if he the musical talent that I have he would of pursued a musical career - meaning he would of loved to charge $150 a lesson. Lately I have really put off music but thanks to Grandpa I'm rosining up the bow again. I was amazed he could even write as legibly as he did. As much as finding an unread message in your inbox can be exciting it can't compare with the thrill of opening a letter. I would encourage everyone to think of somebody with whom you'd like to reconnect and write them a personalized letter. 'Tis a gift to be simple.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Male Bonding Rituals

So what do young single engineers do on a Friday night? Calculate root mean squares? Well as typical as that may sound then would it surprise you to find them singing Neil Diamond karaoke to a restaurant full of inebriated Hispanics? I got to go to a Hispanic culture night and speak Spanish (finally) with a bunch of students from Latin American countries. It was such a blast, except for the part during the Honduran "Sucia" dance when out came some hideously masked witch pelvic thrusting like machine gun fire. Later in the evening at a celebratory gathering the party mood got roudy and took off when someone rigged up a karaoke machine. After much egging and many Spanish ballads, two other co-workers and myself got up and sang 'Sweet Caroline;' oh oh oh glad you didn't hear it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Space the Final Frontier

New low-cost space deployment is a reality in part to the recent success of the private venture SpaceX. With a potential price tag of 7.9 million US dollars (or 85.3 million Mexican pesos) this reusable launch vehicle promises to shorten the gap between the cosmos and mankind. But what does all this cheap space talk mean to you and me average Joes and Janes (or Juanes y Julias)? If I am correct in my thinking it means we have very little time before we start seeing Nike Ads visible from Space. Can you endorse a planet, or a moon? These questions and more will become reality thanks to overly eager advertisement firms wishing to brand the final frontier with "Your Ad Here."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I call this one "matching my socks."

I'm still waiting for something major to come up and bite me but until then here's another minor minute to chew on.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Got Guanabana?

As I was strolling down the international food isle at my local grocer I happened upon a promising quart of tropic fruit refreshment to quench my thirst. Later I discovered what looked so tempting really turned out to be a bona fide trip down corn syrup lane. In my defense it looked so tasty. Even the warm colors on the label which first caught my eyes seemed to draw me in closer with its siren song. Let this be a warning to all athirst and adventurous beverage bibbers; make careful inspection the ingredients label and if you see corn syrup simply walk away. If only I remembered my Indiana Jones quotes then I wouldn't have made such a poor choice. Choose wisely!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My proton can beat up your proton

Did you hear the news? The one about setting the stage for the re-enactment of the so called Big Band? Well thanks to the science of high-energy particle collisions - and no we're not talking about the aftermath of eating Taco Bell - it may be conceivable to unlock the great mysteries of the big wide space we call the universe. The makeup of the universe - and no we're talking about my sister's bathroom countertop - has been a subject upon many a geek's mind ever since the first erector set debuted in 1911. This news has also brought to light the possiblity of creating microscopic black holes and spawning droves of badly made sci-fi hollywood movies. So according to columnist Barry Bateman, "If you find yourself fighting the gravitational pull of a black hole some time on Wednesday[Sept 10, 2008], you will know things went horribly wrong with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)." I have yet to feel any backward gravitational effect but if anyone is in disagreement than do share. With the recent news of colliding protons and theoretical black holes I thought I'd pose the question: what do you think it would be like to fall into a massive black hole? For myself I think it would be like the yoga session from H E double L O. I'm still recovering from an overly ambitious work out last Friday and if its anything like what my pectorals are feeling right now then beam me up Scotty.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Lately I've been composing short blocks of music based upon improvisatory musing between practicing awfully boring orchestral excerpts. Since starting this activity I've payed greater detail to what I hear on TV and movies soundtracks and it's incredible how well the composers can story tell along with the video. So I've decided to pick everyday subject material and write music tracks to go along with it. My last attempt to write a waltz came out really quirky. So far the only things that have sounded decent have been string orchestral sequences all in the key of g minor. What could possibly mirror this musical key you ask? It makes me think of driving to work or tying my shoe laces. Yeah, I'm pretty intense. My goal this week is to break into the happy friendly major keys.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Do I really want to be a fireman?

Lately I have been watching PBS documentaries, a favorite pastime of mine. I now have a greater appreciation for fire fighters who risk all, face the the enemy head on, and battle the scorching elements - all out of a true sense of duty. I wish I could say I had the same kind of motivation in my job. Now something very interesting came to mind as I watched the show. A lead fire fighter spoke about the occasional use of planned burns in order to "choke" the onslaught of the approaching blaze. This sacrifice of charred timber and brush would later serve to shield the fire from advancing any further out of control and into surrounding communities. Just at the moment it was as if a light switched on in my head and a passage from the Book of Mormon suddenly came to mind. In the 4th chapter of 1 Nephi the young obedient son of the prophet Lehi, Nephi, is given a commandment to obtain the plates of brass which contain the word of God from the wicked man Laban. To summarize Nephi comes upon a drunken Laban outside of his house and is then commanded by the voice of the Spirit to slay him with the following counsel found in verse 13: "Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief." This may sound drastic to the reader as I am comparing Laban to a controlled burn practice, however, it suffices me to say that by this single event a nation has been preserved with a greater knowledge of their God. How do I know this? The Book of Mormon. Pondering over this chapter it has become more clear to me that the Lord God knows and loves each of us intimately - without bias or reservation - and will deliver us from the flames of affliction we experience in this life according to our faith in Him.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A fool uttereth all his mind.

"Hey I hear Dallin's pretty good at ping pong. Why don't we go school him?" This was some of the talk from my co-workers that I just let roll off my back. Intrigue-peeked and armed with my Carlos Chiu paddle I took their challenge. Over the next work break I proceeded to pummel and spin my opponents into a slurry of submission until it was unanimously agreed who among us geeks was truly one with the ping. Or was it the pong?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oh Captain! My Captain!

I saw this figurine of Captain Moroni and instantly knew I had found a centerpiece for the kitchen table. My Book of Mormon role model, now in plastic:

Yesterday I felt like I needed a haircut so I walked down to the nearest barbershop and paid $14 including tip for what turned out to be $14 too much. I need to find someone like Lloyd - my previous barber - 80 years young and as sharp as his clippers.

Tonight was one of those nights; tots and ice cream...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Moooove it or lose it

Today's amazing scientific breakthrough comes from German scientists who have discovered that cows are in effect large smelly compasses! According to their findings cattle grazing or at rest tend to orient their bodies in a north-south direction just like a compass needle. Analysis of the satellite images however have yet to reveal which ends of the beastly bovines point north. Any hypotheses? And yet while this recent study sheds light upon man's favorite food chain pet it begs the question; who actually put up the $$ to fund this project? My Answer: Johnny Lingo

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One today is worth two tomorrows

So lately I've been having horrible luck with cornbread. It comes out looking like a brick of pale yellow cheese and tastes bland bland bland - even after I scooped in a handful of sugar. So if sugar won't help this medicine go down than I don't know what will. Apart from my ever-evolving domestic self I drove up to the Palmyra temple near Rochester, NY. Having traveled extensively I can say that there are few places on this earth as beautiful as upstate New York. If you ever get the chance just to drive through the finger lakes region I highly recommend it. This is the Palmyra temple:

I love to see the temple. Adjacent to the temple stands the homestead of the Smith family (cerca 1818) which borders the Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith as a boy of 14 years went one early morning to pray and ask Heavenly Father which church he should join. I have fallen in love with this place. On good days (when the mosquitoes are hung over or something) there is a wonderful stillness in the air and sunbeams shoot through the tops of the trees illuminating the rich green undergrowth below. You feel enveloped in the warmth of the deciduous canopy and by a still small voice of peace. It's a home away from home.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Los sueños extraños

Do you know the feeling when you just wake up and think to yourself "did I just dream that?!" It can be an eerie pause or an emphatic cry of relief. Well last night I was hanging with one of the Presidents of the United States whose name escapes me. This would of been one of those really cool dreams except he really upset me and just wouldn't get out of my face so I ejected him into outer space. Yikes! What does that say about me?